October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but it’s not only in observance for humans because our pets can get be at risk as well. Compared to women, our pets have more breast tissue that can be at risk for tumor development so it’s important to stay aware for them as well as ourselves. There are ways to help prevent tumors from developing as well as tools for how to catch them early on.
Cancerous tumors can develop in both cats and dogs whether they are male or female. Females are at a higher risk, but you should still be checking on your male pets as well. The best practice is to perform a breast examine on your pet, it’s just as simple as when you’re giving them belly rubs! Feel around for anything that may be abnormal, like a large mass under the skin. If you do feel something that seems off, please take your pet to a full-service veterinary hospital so they can provide appropriate pre- and post-operative care.
It is imperative to get ahead of this disease by preventing it as early as you can for your pet. The best thing you can do is spay your female pets before their first heat cycle. This will minimize the risk of mammary tumor development later in life. Dogs have a total of 10 mammary glands, while cats have 8, so it is essential to be checking each one on a regular basis even after they are spayed. Tumors can develop in any of the mammary glands, but they are typically found in the last two glands. Based on your pet’s gender and age, they are at varying levels of risk of having mammary tumors develop which is why pet owners need to take steps early on to prevent cancer.
Our pets are our life, so that is why it is important to protect theirs. Making sure to check for anything abnormal on their bellies as well as fixing them as early as you can is a step in the right direction. This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, please stay vigilant for yourself as well as for your beloved fur-babies!